Monday, November 28, 2011

Total Immersion Swimming Progress

It seems so simple:

  • put my face in the water
  • exhale
  • turn to the right, mouth above the waterline
  • inhale
  • repeat
I find it frustrating that I can't just do it. Why oh why didn't I learn how to swim properly when I was 6?
Even so, I'm making progress, be it every so slowly.

I'm becoming much more comfortable in the water. While doing the backstroke, which is the stroke I use to swim laps (at least until I can become a real swimmer), I'm more comfortable with how my body moves in the water. I'm getting used to rotating my body as I pull with my arms, and letting my legs and feet streamline is becoming very natural, almost happening without thinking about it. Part of Total Immersion Swimming is resting the legs more than using them, the two-beat kick as it's called. I'm getting better at allowing my feet to remain still, using them mostly for balance, and not for propulsion.

When my body is rotated with the right side down (toward the bottom of the pool), I pull with my right arm and kick once with my right foot. I rotate left, and do the same with the left side. My body awareness is increasing too. I can tell when my feet get too high in the water and when my kick is above the water line, creating bubbles instead of balance.

I've been practicing my TI crawl stroke, while using the snorkel. I concentrate on streamlining my body:
  • reach with the right hand
  • relax the hand
  • head in line with my spine, and relaxed
  • legs relaxed and streamlined
Using Terry Laughlin's advice, I'm trying to be "lazy" about getting my forward hand into position. I'm sure the people on the second floor who might be watching, think I'm moving in slow motion. But the key things is, I'm developing techniques that will help me later on.

I've seen several videos demonstrating technique practice, so I've been trying to practice those too.
  1. the superman float: both hands out front, head relaxed and in position, leisurely, consistent kick.
  2. both hands by my sides, rotating my body left side down, then right side down, learning to maintain my balance in the water.
  3. one side streamlining: kicking for propulsion, leaving one hand out front, body rotated properly, moving my head in and out of the water.
I'm also trying to develop a proper breathing rhythm, which is the bane of my swimming experience. I'm getting better, but I want to be able to do it now. I've discovered that when I'm snorkeling, very little, if any, water gets in my nose. But when the snorkel is out, I can't keep the water out of my nose. So today I started practicing a short exhale out my nose, then finishing through my mouth, before rotating my head up for a breath. I can do it great in the spa, pretty good in the kiddie pool (which is only 3 feet deep) and a total fail in the lap pool. One step at a time, right?

I don't know if I'll be able to swim the crawl for the February triathlon, but at least I have a chance. I keep hoping that one day something will just click, my body will understand what's supposed to be happening, and I'll start swimming, like a real swimmer.
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